My Time in Jail--er, Isolation

I had intended to talk about my preparations for my First Monastic Profession in this post, but some fortuitous events changed my topic. This is the story. On Thursday, June 15, I felt a little tickle in my throat after Mass. After that I read on our community bulletin board that one retreatant tested positive for COVID and was in the hospital—for other medical reasons. Anyway, I decided to be very cautious and take a COVID test.

I took one test from the medicine room and went to my room to do the test. I was shocked with the results. Positive, really? I just feel a little tickle in my throat! Immediately, I sent an email informing the Priory health care committee of the results. I put on a mask and went out to gather all possible items I could use for isolating myself. Water, soap dishes, tissues, etc. In my room I checked my pajamas, bed sheets and books. Then suddenly, I remembered that I was communion minister at Mass that afternoon. I was so scared. I tried to remember; did I wash my hands before Mass? Yes, I was also sacristan. I washed my hands very well before handling anything. This made me feel more comfortable, but I could not be sure I didn’t infect one of the Sisters. They also tested later and all of them were negative. Thanks be to God.

I was the only lucky one! I tried to think, why was my immune system so weak? I really was not near the retreatant for a long enough time to justify the infection.

Then suddenly everything was clear to me. Friday, June 16, was the first “birthday” of my father in heaven. My brothers and sisters were in Mexico with my mother to celebrate his life, and I was here in my bedroom, sick, in Lacey, WA. That made sense about why my immune system might be low. I was in isolation for ten days. The day I end my isolation was June 25. It was also my father’s birthday. He would be 88 years old if he were with us. It was a very difficult time for me, even though I really was not that sick.

The view from my window

 It was more like a very mild cold, but I could not go out of my room. I could not be with my family. I could not go to prayers. I could hear the birds complaining for lack of food. They had good reason since the bird-feeders were empty and the birdbath dirty and almost dry. I wanted to go out of my jail-bedroom and walk around the monastery. I wanted to provide water and food to the birds. I wanted to visit Our Lady Garden. I wanted a hug. But the only thing I could do was to see through the window the beautiful days passing by. The first thing I did when I tested negative was to fill the bird-feeders and change the water. I also visited Our Lady Garden. I worked many hours there. Watering the plants and weeding until my body asked for rest. COVID made me feel tired, too, and sad, very sad. We are really living in post-pandemic times, but the scars are deep.


Foxglove in Our Lady Garden

On Sunday, June 25, we celebrated at St. Placid Priory the oblation promises of two people, plus the reception of one oblate candidate. All the oblates renewed their oblation. Next month two novices will celebrate their First Monastic Profession. May the days ahead be more joyful.


  • Comment posted by María del Carmen Navarrete Becerril on July 10, 2023 at 10:35PM (12 months ago)

    Pacita, escribiré en español porque tengo miedo de no expresar correctamente lo que quiero si escribo en inglés. Me conmueve mucho saber que mañana será un día muy importante para tí. La época en la coincidimos y en el Instituto de Fisiología fue una de las más padres para mi y siempre que pienso en tí te imagino como en aquella época. Al transitar por la vida nuestros caminos tomaron diferentes rumbos qué a cada una nos ha trajo retos y pruebas, algunas muy difícil, pero también nos ha dado muchos aprendizajes y momentos de felicidad, pero eso es la vida y yo estoy muy agradecida por todo lo que he recibido y cuento entre esas bendiciones tu amistad. Recibe un gran abrazo. Te quiero mucho.

    • Comment posted by Paz on August 4, 2023 at 3:45PM (11 months ago)

      Amiga, se le quiere mucho. El tiempo no cambia el lugar especial que tienes tu y Zapatos Rojos en mi corazon. Bendiciones. Te acuerdas de los Gomez-Puyou? Quien quite y si...

  • Comment posted by Joel Davis on July 7, 2023 at 5:45PM (12 months ago)

    Thanks for a lovely meditation on isolation and waiting, Paz; at least that is what I hear as I read your blog post. Much of that same time was also fallow for me. I'd had an operation on my right thumb (arthritis) and was in pain much of the time. And minus most of my ability to use my hand! Now the big brace is off and I have no pain, and more use of my hand. But it was a time of waiting, and patience.

    May your preparation for your First Monastic Profession go well!

    • Comment posted by Paz on August 4, 2023 at 3:49PM (11 months ago)

      I am so sorry to hear you were in pain and so happy to know now your are doing well and without pain. Yes how difficult it's to be patient.
      May we always remember that God is also in out waiting time.

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